1 - 0
League (First Division)
|Paddy Boyle (71)||None.|
1. Bryn Halliwell
2. Conrad Balatoni
3. Ian Maxwell
4. Paddy Boyle
5. John Robertson
6. Paul Paton
7. Iain Flannigan
8. David Rowson
9. Paul Cairney
10. Liam Buchanan
11. Martin Grehan
Robert Douglas .1
Gary Irvine .2
Craig McKeown .3
Dominic Shimmin .4
Craig Forsyth .5
Charlie Grant .6
Jamie Adams .7
Gary Harkins .8
Stephen O'Donnell .9
Leigh Griffiths .10
Colin McMenamin .11
12. Craig Hinchcliffe
14. Chris Erskine
15. Kris Doolan
16. Bryan Hodge
Scott Fox .12
Kyle Benedictus .14
Paul McHale .15
Brian Kerr .16
Sean Higgins .17
|Kris Doolan for Liam Buchanan (82)||
Paul McHale for Charlie Grant (62)
Sean Higgins for Stephen O'Donnell (77)
John Robertson (15)
Paddy Boyle (45)
Stephen O'Donnell (44)
Dominic Shimmin (85)
Gary Harkins (91)
Frank McDermott (Referee)
Dundee fans may have tried to kid themselves that Tuesday’s defeat at Stenhousemuir didn’t really matter because it was only the Alba Cup, but there were no illusions amongst the Dark Blues’ fans after today’s match in the competition that really counts, the 1st Division Championship. Dundee were dreadful, and deservedly lost to a Partick Thistle side who were pretty poor themselves.
Gordon Chisholm made six changes from the team that started Tuesday’s feeble Alba Cup defeat at Stenhousemuir. The most surprising was the selection of Dominic Shimmin to make his debut for the Dees after missing the whole of the pre-season programme.
Colin McMenamin played wide on the left of midfield, and Gary Harkins was in front of the midfield behind the sole striker, Leigh Griffiths.
The game started promisingly with Grant and Adams imposing themselves in midfield, and Griffiths worrying the Thistle defenders with his pace and movement.
Dundee’s best move of the half started with a crunching tackle from Adams to break up a Thistle attack. His pass down the left released McMenamin to pass across the penalty area for Griffiths, who cut inside and hit a fierce low shot that sneaked under Halliwell and was hacked clear as it bobbled towards the goal line.
Dundee came closer on the stroke of half time when a McKeown header from a corner bounced twice along the top of the bar before dropping out of play.
That was the extent of Dundee’s attacking threat in the first half, but it was more than Thistle could manage. There was some early uncertainty as Dundee’s new central defence got used to each other, but they soon settled down and looked secure.
After largely stopping Thistle playing in the first half, and showing that Griffiths had the measure of the elderly Thistle defenders, Dundee should have been able to push on for the win in the second half.
Instead the game deteriorated from a cagey stalemate to a tedious, low quality mess. If this was mince, it certainly wasn’t fit for human consumption.
For the first 25 minutes of the second half neither side could keep possession or create a chance. Passes from both sides sailed out of play, or were mishit to an opponent, who would fail to control the ball and send it straight back to the other side.
The ball only went where it was sent when a defender took aim at a cloud and launched it skywards. To be fair, there was no shortage of accurate balls fired at the wild blue yonder.
The tedious dross was eventually and surprisingly interrupted when Dundee flogged a soft goal with 20 minutes to go. Grehan took the ball from a throw, checked inside and floated a deep cross beyond the far post. BOYLE arrived unmarked and didn’t have to jump as he headed the ball back across Douglas and just inside the post.
That, sadly, was pretty much the end of the game for Dundee. Partick got a huge lift from the goal, and lifted their performance to the mediocre. That was too much for Dundee to handle. A second Thistle goal looked far more likely than a Dundee equaliser. Fortunately Thistle lacked the composure and the quality to punish Dundee.
Sean Higgins came on for Stephen O’Donnell and Colin McMenamin moved forward so that Dundee were playing with three strikers. The changes simply handed the midfield to Thistle, without creating anything for Dundee.
Apart from a few scuffed shots that flew well wide, Dundee had only one serious shot in the whole second half, 10 minutes from the end when an Adams shot was charged down. Dundee’s miserable second half performance was summed up by a stupid challenge from Harkins on Grehan, which could have been punished more severely than with a yellow card.
Thistle had no trouble holding on to their lead and the final whistle brought a fusillade of entirely justified boos from the disappointed travelling support.
Gordon Chisholm’s changes made Dundee more solid but there was a depressing lack of creativity. When Dundee tried to pass the ball they went in circles, then backwards, or just lost possession. The only option seemed to be hitting long balls to Griffiths, with predictable lack of success.
When Griffiths had the ball at his feet in the first half he had the beating of the defence. In the second half he hardly saw the ball except when he had to battle the central defenders in the air. Robertson and Maxwell must have been relieved that Dundee were letting them challenge Griffiths on their terms, rather than Sparky’s.
Leigh Griffiths is probably the fastest and most skilful striker in the division. If he has to spend most of a game fighting to win high, long balls against tall, experienced defenders then the rest of the team need to take a look at themselves.
There were few positives for Dundee today, but the two players who made their debuts can be reasonably happy with their own performances. It may have been a gamble to field two debutants, but the defeat was certainly not attributable to that decision. Charlie Grant provided some much needed dig in midfield. Dominic Shimmin coped well, considering his lack of training and match practice. He was occasionally clumsy in the air, but was composed on the ground.
Gordon Chisholm has expressed concern about how easily Dundee have been bullied in away games. Today they weren’t bullied. They were just inept. They were more successful at winning the ball in midfield than recently, but they had little idea of what to do next.
It’s important that Dundee are harder to beat, but if that comes at the expense of creativity and effective support for the strikers then it’s hard to see where the goals are going to come from.
Match report written by James Christie - Official Dundee website
|Robert Douglas (GK)||38||3||-||194||-|
|Paul McHale (sub)||-||5||-||92||4|
|Sean Higgins (sub)||25||5||1||37||8|
No league table has been added for this season.